Black is Back in Wool Satin

Wool Sateen Dress

Sorry for the homespun photography. I am working on it!

Black is one of my favorite colors. Alexander McQueen’s Dante collection in 1996, and Helmut Lang’s 80′s minimalistic designs in black leather made me yearn for strong black pieces in my wardrobe. With the revival of the 80s and partly 90s styles, minimalistic black clothes have become quintessential this season.

Wool Sateen Dress

alexander-mcqueen-pre-fall-2012

Wool Sateen Dress

alexander-mcqueen-pre-fall-2012

So, why postpone the urge to create something that sober and strong. Walking in the wool section of the Mood, I found so many different blacks – all very enticing and rich. Yet I was drawn to a beautiful black wool satin. It has some stretch (perfect for pants, by the way!).

I wanted to make three pieces: a top, a pencil skirt and pants. All very simple, with the top based on a Burdastyle pattern, with an addition of a Cardin sleeve, or a strapped-cap sleeve. I was able to find a lot of guidance on drafting the sleeve in patternmaking books from 80s and early 90s. It is not surprising for this is only slightly later after Cardin – a true innovator – introduced his architectural sleeves in his late 70s collections.

Wool Sateen Dress

byronesque.com

Wool Sateen Dress

vads.ac.uk

With only minor updates Cardin’s design details have been referenced ever since. I love his pieces. Besides, being  pear-shaped I love how these shoulders (or shoulder details like trims or epaulets) make my hips appear narrower.

Wool Sateen Dress

 

Wool Sateen Dress

My dress form doesn’t fill out the top as well as I do :) but this picture shows the details better

Working on this project was a trial and error process, testing at times. I made several sleeve versions, both, in muslin and the wool satin, until I was more or less satisfied with the result. It was a great learning experience, and, while I see some room for improvement, I do like the top and a skirt a lot and worn it several times this month. I also love it in this fabric – the garment looks really polished.

If you haven’t worked with wool satin, let me share a few words about it as it does have some characteristics that can affect the outcome of your project. It is difficult to ease, making it, on the other hand, perfect for styles where minimal fabric manipulation is required. It is also less durable because of the satin weave – it tends to snag and is more prone to the abrasion. So, no seam ripping here – you have to know what you are doing.

However, the beauty of the fabric outweigh these issues. Wool satin is a great investment for dressier styles that won’t be worn on daily basis. The fabric has a truly beautiful drape (you can’t see so much in my garment). So, if you want to make a flared skirt, this is the fabric to go for. The wool satin that I bought has cross-grain stretch, making it excellent for dressier slacks, and, also, for slim styles. I got an extra piece of it for pants, by the way!

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Comments


  • Cidell
    November 8, 2012

    I’ve never heard of wool satin before. I’ll have to check some out. I love the lines of the top!

    • Marina
      November 9, 2012

      Thank you! It is a beautiful fabric for a formal dress – I must get more of it!

  • Patty Pozolo
    November 8, 2012

    Wool satin is new to me, too! Love the pieces you made with it.

    • Marina
      November 9, 2012

      Thanks, Patty!

  • Erica B.
    November 8, 2012

    I’ve never heard of wool satin either. But it sure is gorgeous! Great job on the dress.

    • Marina
      November 9, 2012

      Thanks, Erica!

  • Sarah Gunn
    November 8, 2012

    Beautiful clothing Marina. Great statement pieces and exquisitely sewn as always!

    • Marina
      November 9, 2012

      Sarah, thanks. However, I will never catch up with your sewing tempo – it’s impressive!

  • Laura Casey
    November 9, 2012

    Think your garment is wonderfully made, I haven’t seen wool satin years, my Nana made a pencil skirt for my Mom in this fabric….navy….fabulous and can still remember it.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Thewallinna
    November 10, 2012

    You looks so chic! The sleeves saga definitely payed off :)

    • Marina
      November 12, 2012

      Arigato, Inna :) Need to catch on everything else, however – you know.

  • Peggy Morgans
    November 10, 2012

    The sleeves are stunning–well worth the multiple tries!

  • Carolyn
    November 10, 2012

    I love how you’ve taken a designer’s styling and made it your own! These are fantastic pieces!

    • Marina
      November 12, 2012

      Thanks, Carolyn!

  • Teresa
    November 12, 2012

    I bought this exact fabric last month from Mood when I was in NYC! I love that you made pieces to mix and match or wear together. I’m finishing up a LBD and I’m using Stylearc Anthea Dress pattern. I have enough left over so I’m going to make Stylearc Odette skirt next.

    • Marina
      November 12, 2012

      Teresa, the Style Arc pattern (I just looked it up) is a perfect choice for the fabric I think. The flared skirt must look and fall beautifully.

      • Teresa Kennard
        November 12, 2012

        Teresa, thanks for mentioning Style Arc. I went to their website and was so excited to find that their size 16 was my exact measurements. I ordered 3 patterns from them.

  • Amy
    November 13, 2012

    I love the shoulder details! You’ve done such a beautiful job crafting a unique top. And skirt. I’ll have to keep my eye out for wool satin… When I’ve got a pattern that I know works so that I can keep my seam ripper at bay!

  • Ginger
    November 16, 2012

    Love this outfit! It’s so chic and flattering!

  • Mary
    November 19, 2012

    NICE!! NICE DRESS. I really like it.